Madonna defied Eurovision bosses by making an unexpected political statement during her performance at the Eurovision Song Contest in Israel on Saturday.
Madonna sported a black cape and eyepatch as she performed her 1989 hit Like A Prayer and single Future, from her new album Madame X, with collaborator Quavo at the annual singing competition in Tel Aviv. As her set came to an end, Madonna and the Migos star made their way up a giant staircase alongside their backing dancers, and two-by-two, they dramatically fell backwards off the rear of the stage.
Eurovision organisers were left stunned when they noticed two of the dancers were wearing Israeli and Palestinian flags on the back of their outfits as they held hands and walked up the staircase.
The moment appeared to be the 60-year-old’s attempt to make a call for peace between the two warring territories, and Eurovision bosses issued a statement in which they made clear that the stunt wasn’t approved.
“In the live broadcast… two of Madonna’s dancers briefly displayed the Israeli and Palestinian flags on the back of their outfits,” they wrote. “This element of the performance was not part of the rehearsals which had been cleared. The Eurovision Song Contest is a non-political event and Madonna had been made aware of this.”
Ahead of her performance, Madonna had faced criticism for performing in Tel Aviv because of the Israeli government’s treatment of Palestinians living in the occupied territories.
She later defended her decision by saying, “I’ll never stop playing music to suit someone’s political agenda nor will I stop speaking out against violations of human rights wherever in the world they may be.”
Duncan Laurence from The Netherlands was crowned the champion of the 2019 Eurovision Song Contest, with a whopping 492 points. The win marks the first time that the country has been victorious at the contest since 1975.
The United Kingdom, represented by Michael Rice, finished in a disappointing last place with just 16 points.